It’s often said that the future is electric. While a lot of purists—both in the car and motorcycle world—will vehemently disagree, it’s a reality that’s pretty hard to turn a blind eye towards. These days, nearly all manufacturers have announced their intentions to go electric. Other brands, especially tech-focused ones from China, have already debuted their latest electric vehicles. One such brand is CFMOTO, through its electric-focused subsidiary Zeeho.
Now, personally, I’m a big fan of lightweight electric vehicles. Having an electric scooter and e-bike in my personal collection, I had always been curious as to how electric power would translate into a bigger, more powerful machine. While motorcycles like Zero’s SR or Energica’s Ego still have a long way to go before they even enter the Philippine market, Zeeho has defiantly swam against the current, and set up shop in the local market. Indeed, it’s a ballsy move by the folks over at Motostrada, but hey, these guys have always been about innovation and stirring up the market. Nevertheless, you could only imagine my excitement when they asked me to try the Zeeho AE8 out for a few days.
- Zero emssions!
- Futuristic tech and styling
- Range anxiety is real
Electric motorcycles have always been known for their instantaneous torque, and boy is this the case with the Zeeho AE8. Swinging a leg over this scooter for the first time, I was already anticipating power delivery similar to that of a big bike—perhaps like a Kawasaki Ninja 400 or KTM 390 Duke. Indeed, despite having just 12 kW of power on tap—that’s approximately 17 horsepower—the AE8 accelerates like it has double the power. Perhaps this is due to the whopping 218 Nm of torque it has on tap.
One thing we need to bear in mind when it comes to EVs is that max power and torque are accessible at an instant, whereas ICE vehicles take some time for their engines to spool up. Typically, most motorcycles make peak power and torque way up in the rev range, whereas machines like the Zeeho AE8 are ready to dish it all out the instant you twist the throttle.
So yes, the Zeeho AE8 is a rocket ship of a scooter, and one that could very easily get you in trouble. Riding it out of Motostrada’s Parañaque dealership, I found it hard to resist the temptation to overtake all the scooters and cars around me. Indeed, at city speeds, the AE8 delivers big bike-like performance. Although I was unable to max out its top speed, Zeeho claims a top speed of around 120 kilometers per hour—that’s not too shabby, and is actually comparable to that of 150cc-class scooters like a Yamaha NMAX or Honda PCX 160.
Zeeho equips the AE8 with three riding modes consisting of Eco, Street, and Sport. The differences between these three settings are extremely apparent, with Eco mode providing performance similar to that of a powerful e-bike. Street mode dials things up a notch, and the AE8 pulls like a 125cc scooter—much like my Vespa LT125V. It’s when you put it on sport mode that things take a crazy turn. The AE8 dishes out all of its power and torque, and accelerates faster than most other scooters. As mentioned earlier, I’d compare its acceleration to that of a KTM 390 Duke at full throttle
As for range, you rely on two beefy battery packs to power the Zeeho AE8. Each battery pack weighs around 12 kilograms, and combined, they are said to offer up to 120 kilometers of range on a single charge. Quite frankly, it’s hard to believe that the scooter can go that far on single charge, as I was draining the batteries pretty quickly. In hindsight, it must’ve been because I kept the scooter in Sport mode for nearly the entire duration that I had it in my possession.
That being said, if you’re much more disciplined with the throttle than I am, and you leave the scooter on Street or Eco mode, it wouldn’t be a far-fetched notion for you to be able to exceed 100 kilometers of range on a single charge. Speaking of charging, I plugged in the Zeeho AE8 a couple times to juice it up over the course of my review. Using the supplied charger found under the seat, the scooter managed to fully recharge from near-empty in little over four hours.
Design and features
It should come as no surprise that a premium electric scooter from the likes of CFMOTO would come decked out with all the fancy features you could ask for. For starters, the AE8 is decked out in LED lights all-around, and I really mean all around. Up front, the headlight extends all the way up the apron close to the handlebars. This gives the scooter an aggressive, insect-like appearance, while at the same time enhancing night-time visibility. This not only means that the road ahead is lit up really well, but also that other vehicles can easily spot you. Out back, the tail light can be found right below the saddle, however, rear indicators are positioned at the scooter’s rear quarter panels. These make it incredibly easy for traffic to tell whether you’re turning left or right.
Other nifty features include Key Card access. That’s right, instead of a conventional key, the Zeeho AE8 has an RFID card that you tap just below the instrument panel. This unlocks the scooter, allows you to access the under-seat storage compartment, and is also used to start the scooter up. You’re greeted to a whole array of sounds, which quite frankly, can sometimes be a bit confusing. The scooter even makes a beeping sound every time you toggle the turn indicators. Other safety features include a motor cutoff when you get off the scooter, or when the side stand is put down. The scooter will also automatically shut off after a few seconds if you leave it parked.
Overall, the Zeeho AE8 has completely changed my perception of electric scooters, and quite frankly, scooters in general. As a motorcyclist who has always preferred powerful, performance-oriented machines, the Zeeho AE8 is proof that fun, utility, and to a certain extent, sustainability, can all blend together in a futuristic two-wheeled package. Nevertheless, it’s understandable that a novelty scooter like the AE8 would command quite a high price at P209,800. Technology of this level just isn’t widely accessible just yet, and so it’s expected that pricing for models like this will eventually be on the downtrend. Nevertheless, if what you;re looking for is a futuristic two-wheeler that runs on electricity, and one that’s filled to the brim with techie features, there’s pretty much nothing else in the market worth choosing other than the Zeeho AE8.